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Bombslinger - Nintendo Switch Review

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A REVIEW BY MIKE DAVIES

Bombslinger is the latest game by Mode4 and while being available through Steam's Early Access program for a couple of years now, the game launches proper on Xbox One, Playstation 4, PC and Nintendo Switch today. We'll be taking a look at the Switch version of the game for this review.

Personally, I'm not into story-driven games these days, so you could say Bombslinger is a perfect match for me with it's firm emphasis on multi-player. The game does however have a story-mode and luckily for me, it's a welcoming and fast-paced affair that follows a straight-forward storyline with a nice quick intro before throwing you into battle. Now let's get on with hog-killin' time. 

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You play as a poncho wearing bombslinger in a Bomberman / Smash TV style'd game. One glance of Bombslinger and you'll more than likely be familiar with the gameplay mechanics, but there's much more to the game than successful bomb placement and you'll need to have your wits about you if you hope to succeed. The aim of the game is to defeat all enemies within each room and in doing so different areas will open up for you to choose your path to the next randomly generated room. Along the way you'll come across bonus rooms with locked chests within, requiring a key to open. A final room will pit you against the boss for that stage. 

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Along the way you'll encounter a bunch of different enemies to take down, while gaining coins for doing so. This will then enable you to explore shops that are located around the different rooms and inside you can purchase weapons and power-ups, you'll also gain the ability to select new power-ups with the use of XP that is accumulated throughout the game. All sounds easy right? Drop a few bombs, gain some power-ups, then learn the bosses movement patterns and 'bomb's your uncle'? In practise, the answer is No, this game is hard – well, at least for me. Upon dying you'll be taken back to the very start of the game, and while you do have a couple of lives that are indicated by hearts, it's only the most precise and experienced players that will get to experience all that the Single-Player game of Bombslinger has to offer. 

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However, as previously mentioned, Bombslinger offers a robust selection of multi-player modes for up to 4-players, this will be the game mode I think most players will relate too, and it's what the Switch is perfect for. You can check out our video below to see the multi-player in action!

So, Bombslinger...is it a bombing good time?  

I'm a little torn. On one hand we have the steep difficulty curve of the single-player mode, this is mainly due to the fact that you can't continue from where you left off but then the game is also about progressing and levelling-up while gaining new abilities, so this does help alleviate some of the game's difficulty level if you stick at it. On the other hand we have the pickup and play aspect of the game, with very quick loading times across all game modes, the fantastic presentation, decent music and the hectic but fun multiplayer mode.

-Mike

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If Bombslinger sounds like your bag, then you can pick it up from the Nintendo eShop for £10.79.

The game is also available across Europe and other territories including the US:

eShop US Bombslinger US $11.99 

FAR CRY 5 - Gold Edition UNBOXING!

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If you're considering buying Far Cry 5 and not sure which version to pick up then you may want to check out the Gold Edition of the game, which Neil handily unboxes in this here video. Spoiler! It's probably the best value edition of the game to buy if you like extra content...

Immortal Redneck Out Now on Xbox One and Playstation 4 Pro

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Play as a mummified redneck with over 50 weapons with three playable different classes on three pyramids levels, in this Egyptian-themed FPS shooter. Sounds like your type of game? See the trailer below and look out for our future review on Immortal Redneck!

Morphite Xbox One Review

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Totally in the dark on this game; so the style and type of gameplay I’d been tasked with reviewing was a complete mystery. So wasting no time I redeemed the review key via the Xbox store and waited as what was a relatively small file downloaded.

Initial impressions.

Starting off aboard a space station our heroine, Myrah Kale, is sent on a sort of coming of age/first steps type mission. Despite it clearly not being a point and click adventure, this was the immediate first impression. Most likely due to the linear series of events that then followed.

After a short while just following the story prompts which are acting as a tutorial of sorts. The game’s play mechanic started to show through. In short explore, collect, redeem/trade and repeat as required.

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The art style is described as ‘Stylized Low-Poly Look’ which seems fitting enough. Some commentators have described it as being similar to Astroneer – which is a reasonable enough statement to make although Astroneer uses a wider range of colours and effects for the art style/environment that it is using.

The music is also worth a mention. The game uses a series of musical cues and mood pieces that play during certain moments acting more as a sound scape than a soundtrack. Like the art style these are very distinctive and helps to give it a sense of place that’s very unique.

So back to the game; having gained a mentor and a feline flying robot (called Kitcat) I completed the firing tutorial and left the space station on-board my own spacecraft. The navigation of which is via a galaxy/solar system type maps. Up to this point everything was first person but inside the ship the view is locked down.

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Between you and the destination there are traders and other space stations. Essentially these provide the obvious trading opportunities and in the case with space station upgrade possibilities. Of course there is also the possibility of combat. This takes the appearance of using one of the gun emplacements as seen on-board the Millennium Falcon (or for seasoned players ‘Star Raiders’ through a porthole). This played well enough although I had to change the control scheme from directional to ‘pilot’ like in style by inverting the vertical input – always nice when control options are provided but I do wish there was a way to know which was the default option.

Now the first of a couple of pointers that may prove to be beneficial.

Upgrades generally require materials and currency (the delightfully named ‘chunks’). Two types of materials has been the norm so far for upgrades and the coloured bar to the right of the material names is a pictorial representation of the amount you’re carrying (if any) vs the amount required. Since you see all the possible upgrade slots at each venue despite what’s actually available it is a little confusing at first when the on screen requirements are all blank. However the exchange of materials and funds soon becomes a major plank of the game design. Upgrades exist for yourself, equipment and your ship with upgrade areas specialising in one of the three branches.

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Planetside

Now the main thrust of the game is the planet surfaces and it is this that has drawn the strongest comparison to the look of Astroneer and the gameplay of No man’s Sky. As per the Astroneer the No Man’s Sky reference is not quite right either – yes both feature planet surface exploration but the landscape in Morphite is smaller and more valley like in layout thus leading to a precise objective. The reduced colours and geometry is pleasing on the eye with the only drawbacks being that some features such as tunnel entrances can literally disappear when they are the same colour as the surroundings.

Planetary exploration is accessed from orbit via a pod like thing that also acts as a restock point for your weapon and maybe a checkpoint – I say maybe since it’s all a bit confusing. I’ve relied on the checkpoint system only for it to ‘not-save-your-progress’ this forcing me to chase the same amphibian several times.

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As I progressed the gameplay did start to coalesce so you can then adopt a playstyle to maximise your playing experience and in game rewards. The game is essentially an exploration based; by scanning flora and fauna on planets you gain readings of their biology that act as tradable items and gateways to enhancements. Other minerals/currency can be acquired via the good old fashioned Zelda approach of smashing stuff or in our instance - shooting it.

Now another playing pointer. You will depend heavily on two items from your roster; the scanner which scans things and you gun with which you can shoot them afterwards. Initially to select between the two required you to pull up a menu and select between them. This was really unwieldy. After all scanning and shooting are the two things you do all the time and rapid selection was pretty much mandatory. Later on I discovered that the D-pad was used to bring up and zoom in/out on a map (up/down) however undocumented was the fact that left/right cycled through your items as well. This turned out to be a mixed blessing since the act of operating the map also moves the held item along. Initially I thought was my inexperience in changing the map but alas having the map up does affect the item being held. The map alas has its own issues. Normally it hangs in the upper right of the screen but is very faint. The version you call up occupies the majority of the screen and is more opaque. So as you move around it does obscure a lot of the scenery and cannot be adjusted. Not only does it make seeing thing difficult as you move but you cannot use anything you’re carrying so no scanning or shooting allowed. Another issue is that the map is rendered as per the height you’re currently at; so instead of seeing the shapes of the valley or caves you can instead get a slice of the world where the terrain has narrowed or even no longer exists at this vertical point.

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As already mentioned you progress by exploration and essentially scanning everything. Like all games of this ilk your equipment is compromised at the start and upgrading via exploring is paramount. That does mean that some of the wildlife you see is practically impossible to scan (flies for example). There is a log to let you catch up on the creatures scanned but there appears to be no way of knowing if you’ve scanned all those on a particular planet (they do visually take on a slightly different on-screen appearance). Some lifeforms appear more than once with different preceding adjectives to differentiate between them. This may be down to some sort of seeding system but I noticed at least one whose name of Lakeshits seems a little unfortunate (or maybe I’m breaking the word up incorrectly…).

At this point I should come clean and point out that I haven’t completed the main game yet. In my defence I have literally gone off and done my own thing. Something that this game allows you to do -without question. There is a story and objectives (and a very handy quest screen to keep up to date of what you should be doing) that lead to planetary structures with platform/switch type obstacle courses and the unveiling of a story point (the not at all mythical Morphite!).

The conclusion

This is proving a tricky title to review. There is a lot to admire in this game and they have tried to make it as approachable as possible. Admittedly some of the areas are a little empty and the electronic music (more of an atmospheric audio experience) and graphics can grate if the game is played excessively. However in smaller doses the open ended exploration and easy going nature of this title makes this a game to fall back on, especially since death doesn’t really penalise you – just puts you back to the last checkpoint (maybe).

 “Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, Or what's a heaven for?”

You can find out even more details on Morphite on Crescent Moon Games website, while following the developers Blowfish Studios and We're Five Games.

Morphite is available now on PS4, Xbox One, Steam, Nintendo Switch and iOS. 

 

Assault Android Cactus Lands on XB1X, XB1 on 7 Nov

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Assault Android Cactus Energizes the Xbox One X on 7 Nov.

Supports Xbox One X Native 4K 60fps at Launch

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BRISBANE, QUEENSLAND - 25 Oct. 2017 - Assault Android Cactus, the action-packed arcade-style twin-stick shooter developed by Witch Beam, will hit the Xbox One marketplace on 7 Nov. 2017, for $14.99 USD. Launching alongside the Xbox One X, Assault Android Cactus will debut native 4K 60fps support and include an optional developer commentary. Players can try before they buy with a free 30-minute trial of the upcoming console version on the Xbox One and Xbox One X.
 
Assault Android Cactus replaces the traditional life system with a continuously draining battery. Players will need to make every second count as they maneuver through endless swarms of relentless robots to grab power-ups and all-important batteries from fallen enemies. The only way to survive is to keep fighting.
 
Each of the nine vibrant android heroines has their own character-specific primary weapon with infinite ammo and a more powerful secondary weapon with a cooldown timer. Knowing when to switch between the two is the difference between victory and defeat on ever-changing stages. Accessible gameplay makes Assault Android Cactus an intuitive title for one to four people to pick up and play.
 
A variety of game modes put the androids' skills to the test. Infinity Drive throws out wave after wave of mechanical minions. Rumble with the big boys with the Boss Rush mode or drop by the Daily Drive to challenge a new scenario every day. Unlock EX options that open up a first-person perspective, powerful MEGA weapons, or an A.I. partner to bring along for the ride.
 
Follow Junior Constable Cactus and her friends across 25 action-packed levels as they regain control of the Genki Star space freighter from robot workers running amok. Lasers will fly as androids dodge bullets and send five bosses back to the scrap heap, all before their batteries drain away.
 
"The spirit of our game comes from a love of the arcade culture we grew up with," says Santana Mishra, director, Witch Beam. "I'm excited Xbox One owners will get to experience Cactus's non-stop action, and in glorious 4K HD on the Xbox One X."
 
Assault Android Cactus is currently available for PlayStation 4, Windows, Mac and Linux for $14.99 USD. Those platforms and the Xbox One release will be available in English, French, Italian, German, Spanish and Japanese.
 
For more information about Assault Android Cactus, please visit the official website or follow the game on Twitter and Facebook.

Get puzzled with Death Squared on March 14th

Love puzzle games? Team up with a few friends and conquer Death Squared for PC, MAC, Playstation 4 and XBOX One on March 14th.

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Does anyone actually read these descriptions? They do? And there's someone reading right now? Well, in that case: Death Squared is a cooperative puzzle game for 1, 2 or 4 players, best enjoyed with loved ones who don't mind a little arguing for the greater good.

Prove your teamwork skills in Death Squared as you solve puzzles together or die trying! Each player needs to guide a robot to a colour-coded goal, but the path is beset with deadly traps and hazards. Teams of players will need close observation and communication to keep each other alive and discover a solution together.

Complete the main campaign in single player or with two players, then take a group into four-player Party Mode for the ultimate teamwork trial! For those that can't get enough, head to the 'Vault' to find extra experiments recommended only for the brave.

Features:

 

  • a micro-journey of: surprise > discovery > mastery > success

  • All players on the board share in that collective journey as they each play a vital role in the discovered solution.
  • 2 Player Story Mode
  • 4 Player Party Mode